A badger in England has made an archaeological discovery, uncovering a cremation site near Stonehenge, England. Archaeologists believe the site dates back to between 2,200 and 2,000 BC, during the Bronze Age.
After the ancient site was discovered by the furry mammal, investigators found the location contained human remains, along with a chisel made of copper, a bronze saw, and a wrist guard likely once worn by an archer. Also seen in the find were stone tools used to straighten the shafts of arrows which became bent from use. It is possible that at least one person interned at the grounds, in the confines of a cremation urn, was either an archer or a craftsman of archery supplies.
The site where the find was made is located in Netheravon, roughly 5 miles from the famous Stonehenge monument. The relics, covered in moss, were transported to the conservation lab at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre (WSHC).
"The group of finds include sherds from a large ceramic urn, various bone and antler tools, 2 metal objects (one a serrated blade and the other is still a complete mystery) and most significantly a copper chisel with the decorated bone handle still attached," researchers at the WSHC report.
Before examination was possible, researchers needed to carefully dry the ancient objects. Organic materials, such as antler and bones, expand and shrink in response to the amount of moisture in the environment. Drying such artifacts out too quickly can result in cracking.
The relics were once housed inside a ceramic vessel, which shattered before archaeologists were able to examine the find. Researchers believe it is possible the badger may have shattered the container while digging. Investigators are still piecing the vessel together to determine how the container looked when it was created thousands of years ago.
"We would never have known these objects were in there, so there's a small part of me that is quite pleased the badger did this... but it probably would have been better that these things had stayed within the monument where they'd resided for 4,000 years," Richard Osgood of the Ministry of Defence in England said.
The badger-turned-accidental-archaeologist has been moved to a new location, as researchers and volunteers work to unearth any remaining relics at the Bronze Age site.